Google had a hit or miss year with the Pixel lineup in 2020; the Pixel 4a and Pixel 4a 5G were well-received while the Pixel 5 was widely regarded as a poor value despite Google's $100 price drop from the original Pixel 4 lineup.
Given the acclaim for the more budget-focused Pixels, the Pixel 5a has a lot to live up to and, based on the first renders and specs revealed by reliable leaker Steve Hemmerstoffer (a.k.a. @OnLeaks) on Voice, it appears that it is wisely taking a lot of cues from the Pixel 4a 5G (via Android Community).
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The renders are based on leaked specs obtained by Hemmerstoffer, which aren't complete by any means, but they do paint a pretty clear picture of the forthcoming handset. While the Pixel 6 could be a real wildcard this year, it looks like the Pixel 5a will play it safe. But considering it's based on two of the best budget phones of the last year, that isn't a bad thing.
At first glance, you would be forgiven for thinking the renders are simply of the Pixel 4a 5G. The new device is virtually indistinguishable from its sibling. It uses the same plastic back with a fingerprint sensor at the top rear adjacent to the dual-rear camera array. Around the front, it features the same 6.2-inch FHD+ OLED display with the front-facing hole-punch camera in the same spot in the upper-left corner.
So what are the differences? The overall size of the Pixel 5a is a bit taller and thicker at 6.15 x 2.9 x 0.35 inches compared to the 6.1 x 2.9 x 0.3 inches of the Pixel 4a 5G. Although it's hard to tell in the render, most of that extra space is seen in the bottom bezel of the phone.
At present, little is known of the camera specs other than the design mirroring that of the Pixel 4a 5G and Pixel 5. A flash is also present along with a third sensor that is likely a PDAF (phase-detect autofocus).
Rounding out the specs in the leak are the 3.5mm headphone/mic jack and stereo speakers. While it goes unmentioned in the leak, it would seem a given that the Pixel 5a won't support 5G as that would clearly cannibalize Pixel 4a 5G sales.
For the first real leak regarding the Pixel 5a, it's quite a bit of information, and given Hemmerstoffer's track record, we are inclined to believe it. While the Pixel 4a wasn't released until August last year, rumors suggest that it was due to Covid-19 related delays and it was originally intended to launch in the spring similar to the May launch of the Pixel 3a.
Given the level of detail available in this leak, it seems like the Pixel 5a may be on track to return to that spring timeframe so we may not have too long to wait.
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Sean Riley has been covering tech professionally for over a decade now. Most of that time was as a freelancer covering varied topics including phones, wearables, tablets, smart home devices, laptops, AR, VR, mobile payments, fintech, and more. Sean is the resident mobile expert at Laptop Mag, specializing in phones and wearables, you'll find plenty of news, reviews, how-to, and opinion pieces on these subjects from him here. But Laptop Mag has also proven a perfect fit for that broad range of interests with reviews and news on the latest laptops, VR games, and computer accessories along with coverage on everything from NFTs to cybersecurity and more.